As we all probably know by now, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated yesterday. I’ve been reading through the comments on the BBC website’s Have Your Say thread, and it’s quite revealing as to the state of people around the world. Some shrug their shoulders and say, ‘Well, that’s what Islam seems to specialise in’, others raise their fists in anger at the West for the destabilising effect it has had on the region, and others just argue with the ones that said something else.
When things like this happen, I’d prefer to mourn. We have such a fun time in Britain, predicting the outcome of the (2009?) election, basically because we have an underlying assumption that our political leaders will survive that long. In such a situation, I wonder what I’d do: probably keep my head down and delegate the decision-making to someone else. Poor Pakistan.
Also, what would I think if I was a Muslim? If I had been brought up to believe that my brothers and sisters in Islam are living in a way that is (nearest to) the solution to the world’s problems, by now I would be getting more cynical by the day – there’s only so much you can blame on an extremist minority. That’s why I feel sorry for Muslims just now.
I guess (due to our glorious history), Christians have had to chew this sort of stuff over for centuries – I hope we have been anyway. For most of the Christians I know, dealing with our violent/crap heritage is just part of the story now, and in many ways that can be quite helpful. It’s helpful for me, anyway.
In one of our tea-drinking sessions the other week (with Maria, Tom, & Clare), we were talking about how you only really have the right to criticise something if you are part of it – ie. I can criticise the Church, because I’m part of it; because it is me. This means that I tend to be very open and even-handed when talking about people with whom I do not share beliefs, whilst being quite stinging about Christendom, but I realised that that’s because I love it and care about it too much to not have strong opinions. I’d say that this is why I can’t point fingers at Muslims (or Pakistanis) – they aren’t me. My job is to mourn.